We wonder if we're the only ones confused by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's strange behavior on prison overcrowding.
With our support, the governor has been pressing the Legislature to pass measures to reduce the prison population with actions that would help slice $1.2 billion from the budget and improve public safety. Then on Tuesday, Schwarzenegger announced that the state would appeal a federal court order that placed a cap on California's prison population.
That court order, contrary to false claims by some politicians, does not call for mass early release or a ban on the admission of new offenders to prison. The court left it to the state to choose what alternatives would most easily and economically reduce the prison population to 137.5 percent of the capacity for which the prisons were designed.
Schwarzenegger himself proposed a plan for a population reduction of 27,300, which would go a long way toward the reduction from 150,000 to 110,000 that the court's cap would require within two years. His proposal was passed by the Senate.
But with his latest motion to put the court order on hold and appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, Schwarzenegger has totally undermined any leverage that the court order gave him in pressing the balking Assembly into action.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Sacramento Bee.